Tax Revenues

Domestic resource mobilisation is one of the most important ways to facilitate sustainable development. A strong tax base provides governments with resources to spend on infrastructure and public services, such as health, education and social protection.

Taxes and fees paid by Norfund portfolio companies in 2020 (billion NOK)

Norfund’s investments contribute both directly and indirectly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal no. 17.1 - "Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection."

The Challenge

According to the IMF, in most low- and middle-income countries, the tax-to-GDP ratio is less than half compared to the OECD country average. As governments in low- and middle-income countries are modernising their tax systems and broadening their tax base, the tax-to-GDP ratio is generally increasing, but not as much as needed.

Appropriate, prudent and transparent tax behavior is therefore a key component of corporate responsibility for all investors and their portfolio companies.

Norfund's Contribution to Increased Tax Revenues in 2020

Taxes and fees are paid by Norfund’s portfolio companies and by companies in their value chains.


paid in taxes and fees
in 2020


increase in 2020


of  the taxes paid  in 2020
are in Africa 


Norfund's Tax Policy

Norfund's Responsible Tax Policy, adopted by the Board of Directors in 2019, sets out the principles that guide our approach to tax-related issues and what we expect from our portfolio companies and co-investors. The guidelines are based on internationally agreed principles and were drawn up with input from civil society. Norfund’s Responsible Tax Policy is central to our investments and is based on the below seven principles:

  1. Tax revenues are fundamental to the ability of governments to stimulate sustainable development.
  2. Norfund’s portfolio companies shall pay taxes to the countries in which they operate and where the income is generated.
  3. Norfund does not support aggressive tax planning or engage in any artificial arrangements to reduce its tax liabilities.
  4. Norfund seeks to limit the use of Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs). OFCs are used only when necessary to meet the fund’s development priority of investing in high risk markets and to protect the fund’s capital.
  5. For investments in funds, Norfund requires that the fund’s investment policy complies with Norfund’s mission and principles in respect of both the portfolio companies and management company structures used.
  6. Norfund promotes transparency by disclosing project specific information to the extent possible and within the legal limits of client protection.
  7. Norfund will continue to monitor developments and review this tax policy regularly

The Responsible Tax policy shall be reviewed minimum every second year, with a view to remain consistent with evolving international standards and the best practice of multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions.

Use of Offshore Financial Centers

In countries with weak legal systems, or where there is a risk of corruption in the legal system, the administration and enforcement of laws and rules may be neither effective nor predictable. This is a risk that is too high for many in­vestors.

As a minority investor, Norfund’s investments are some­times made through structures or funds that have been set up by others.

It is therefore sometimes necessary to utilise a third-party country in order to enable investments with high impact potential. However, the use of such offshore financial centers (OFCs) implies a special responsibility for Norfund to ensure that we have full insight into the transactions that take place, and that we in no way contribute to tax evasion or illegal capital flows.

CountryTaxes paid in 2019 (NOK)
Bangladesh1 483.000.000
Costa Rica90.000.000
El Salvador139.000.000
Other, Africa*
Other, Latin America663.000.000
Other, Asia*661.000.000
South Africa320.000.000
South Sudan19.000.000

*This includes data from countries with less than 4 reporting businesses as well as companies with operations in several countries in the region.